For the last decade or so the FA has resembled the land that time forgot. Proactivity, decisiveness and dynamism should be the watchwords of any organisation, but the dinosaurs at the FA have failed utterly to possess any of these qualities. That being said you could probably make a decent soap-opera about the FA, given the seemingly endless stream of sleaze that it has been associated with. Former FA Chairman Lord Triesman was the latest suspect, getting embroiled in stories of an affair and accusing rival World Cup bidders Spain and Russia of bribing referees. If England get the 2018 World Cup, it will almost have been in spite of the FA, and the organisation certainly needs reinvigorating.
The FA’s ‘Respect’ campaign best sums up the organisations lack of backbone in recent years and has been an almost laughable project. On the FA’s website they bemoan the fact that thousands of referees quit the game each year due to the abuse they receive from players and fans. Yet week in week out they do nothing to stamp out the vitriol referees receive from players who mob them and scream in their faces if a decision does not go their way. If referees actually believed they had the backing of the FA they might caution these players, but this confidence seems fundamentally lacking, and that is entirely the fault of the FA. Words need to be backed with actions but this is a concept the FA don’t seemed to have grasped. Perhaps the best candidate for the role of reinvigorating the association is a man who was worked their before, but the FA could do far worse than looking at his services again. That man is David Dein.
David Dein is perhaps most well known for tenure as Arsenal’s Vice-Chairman in a period when the club experienced great success. His best achievement in this role was bringing the then little known Arsene Wenger to the club, although he was unheard of then, Wenger has gone on the become the club’s longest serving and most successful manager. David Dein made a sudden departure from the club in 2007, and Arsenal have not won a trophy in his absence.
David Dein has been a board member of the FA before and is now the International President of England’s 2018 World Cup bid. This is a a role Dein should be ideally suited to, he has a vast amount of experience in football and has been a dynamic and successful operator in some very demanding roles. Dein could also be the man to reinvigorate the FA, in whatever capacity he can fill at Soho Square he would definitely be a positive influence in what has for years been a moribund organisation.
David Dein has a proven track record at the highest levels of the game, this is a man who was also heavily involved in the birth of the Premier League, which has been an unqualified success story. What the FA need is someone with ideas and the fortitude to carry these ideas out, and this is something Dein is more than capable of doing. If David Dein was to take a dual role as International President of England’s World Cup bid, and was to take a significant position in the FA, English football would certainly be the benefactor.